Chow, Baby wouldn’t know how real reviewers remember food details — take notes, maybe, or shoot surreptitious cellphone pictures — but its method is both simple and in glorious Technicolor: Check the stains on the shirt. This system has worked for years and partly explains why you see so much stained clothing for resale at the Salvation Army (Chow, Baby recycles). That is, it works unless you’re taking your mom along on a restaurant review.

thai-red-chicken-curryHere we are at Sweet Basil Thai Cuisine (977 Melbourne Rd., Hurst), shortly after Chow, Baby introduced Chow, Mère to the wonders of DSW Shoe Warehouse, thus guaranteeing many future happy parental visits (until DSW opens a New Orleans location). Chow, Baby had dressed carefully for this meal, for maximum contrast possibilities. Indeed, the ginger-sauce drips from our Thai dumplings ($5.95) showed up beautifully on its pale blue T-shirt, and a morsel of coriander-dusted shrimp perfectly complemented the light khaki cargo pants (lots of pockets, for extra memory-preservations).


The shirt drip was soon joined by a lovely pale orange splotch from yummy pumpkin curry chicken ($7.50), and — a trifecta — the spicy-sweet green curry pork ($7.50) donated a milky avocado-colored dribble, a stray bit of red bell pepper (lovely against khaki), and a bit of juicy pork to Chow, Baby’s collection. Reddish-brown tricklings of sweet Thai iced tea ($3) completed the shirt palette. For dessert, black sticky rice with mango ($4.95) was unfortunately not drippy, but Chow, Baby managed to land a few rice grains on its chest and drop a smidgen of yellow fruit in each thigh pocket.

Chow, Baby had all the information it needed — except that just as the waitress set down the check, Mère whipped out the Shout wipes. Chow, Baby was not familiar with the concept of “embarrassing,” as opposed to useful and necessary, stains, but apparently that’s what these things are made for. Why did Chow, Baby, a person who is fully grown in many ways, sit there submissively while its mommy cleaned up its lunch dribbles? Because for all that Shout wipes don’t work very well — Chow, Baby’s chest looked like a Norwegian Expressionist painting — they beat the heck out of the spit-on-the-hanky treatment.

Zoom Zoom Room

The decorating theme at the Pitt Stop Café (7019 Mansfield Hwy., Kennedale) — three minutes from Kennedale Speedway — is, as one might expect, auto racing. This sat pretty well with Chow, Baby, who has a checkered flag hanging from its garage ceiling so the Chowbabymobile always feels like a winner (Chow, Baby helps by making “and the crowd goes wild!” noises each time we pull in the driveway). Unfortunately Pitt Stop’s food doesn’t always cross the finish line: Chow, Baby’s two thick, juicy pork chops ($6.99) were marvelous, but the beloved’s undistinguished steak sandwich (daily special, $5.99) was drenched in what tasted exactly like oversalted, chemically thickened, Franco-American canned gravy.

Sides, the mainstay of homecooking,  were similarly uneven: Chow, Baby, who finds guilty pleasure in Velveeta mac & cheese, didn’t mind Pitt Stop’s similar fake-cheese taste, and the black-eyed peas were nicely doctored. But the spinach was boiled to mush, the mashed potatoes had a funny taste, and the pinto beans were drab. Hey-hon service was a saving grace. Still, Chow, Baby won’t be breaking its own quarter-mile record getting back here.

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